I wanted to share a few pics from my hunt 2nd season.
Hermosa Creek Wilderness North of Durango, CO
We have hunted this area since the mid-1990's. I had taken a number of cows from this unit. Bulls used to be fairly rare here but I had noticed an increase in the evidence of bull activity in the parts of the unit we frequently hunt. Last year my goal was to try to pull a bull out of this area. This year I finally got it done.
The older generation of our family used to hunt here with us. Only 3 of us carry on the hunt now.
The Chevy Apache was our Basecamp
3 miles down the trail, this one-man tent (spike camp) was a little chilly.
On the fateful day I had positioned myself in a ridge looking down over a steep grove of aspen trees. I knew there was an elk trail below me and that some animals might be moving today due to pressure from other hunters. Pretty suddenly I saw movement through the aspens. There was indecision among the herd. The herd cow called back another cow that had started down a ridge. Six cows galloped below me on the elk trail with the bull bringing up the rear. None of them stopped, or even slowed down enough for me to get a shot.
The entire herd made it to the relative safety of the pine grove to my left. Then, to my amazement, the bull walked out into an open lane through the pine trees and stood there.
It was not a long shot (135 yards) but it was a steep downhill shot. Everyone says to aim low when shooting steep downhill so I did. The first bullet crossed 1” below his heart/sternum and took out his bicept on the far side. He spun around twice. As soon as he stopped spinning the second bullet was on the way. He staggered downhill a few steps and tipped over. Lesson learned: just normal aim is sufficient.
Details - ‘80’s vintage Browning BLR, model ’81 in 7 mag, leupold 4x scope. 160 grain Nosler Partitions – Federal factory loads.
This hunt was on an Over-The-Counter 2nd season tag. It was public land (National Forest), and it was all Do-It-Yourself. The overall success rate on elk is 18% for 2nd elk season in this unit. Somewhat less for bulls. This is not my biggest bull, but it was very satisfying to be successful against the odds.
Making a carry up through the aspens.